The 2017 Results are In! I’d like to give a special thanks to all participants and supporters, guest judges Alejandra Torres and Amaris Wilson, and the Black Women Being fund. Each of the following poems will also be published in the anthology Colorism: Essays and Poems, scheduled for release this fall. I know you’ve all been patiently waiting for several months to see the final results. So without further ado…

Youth Poetry Division

1st Place: “Subbi” by Charlotte Namakula

2nd Place: “Morena” by Aislinn Ramos

3rd Place: “Prophecy” by Aisha Khan

Finalist: “I Am More” by Krithika Shrinivas

Finalist: “A Diamond Broken Free” by Sharon Harrison

Editor’s Pick: “What We Fear” by Pauline Monter

Editor’s Pick: “The Life Of A Nutty Buddy” by Lillian Lewis

Editor’s Pick: “Xicana” by Marisol Lara

Editor’s Pick: “Colorism” by Anam Hussain

Editor’s Pick: “Who can say?” by Sophia Denton

Editor’s Pick: “Her” by Patrice Moody

Editor’s Pick: “The Skin I’m In” by Darvonette Johnson

Editor’s Pick: “My Brother” by Gladis Ricaurte

Editor’s Pick: “Untitled” by Aaliyah Jones

Editor’s Pick: “I Grew Up Hating Myself” by Katrielle Ely Francke

Youth Essay Division

1st Place: “Hues of Hatred and Healing” by Janell Lee

2nd Place: “The Color of Water and Me” by Abigail Koerner

Adult Poetry Division

1st Place: “White Asia” by Sabrina Pyun

2nd Place: “A Legacy of Colorism” by Elizabeth Upshur

3rd Place: “Her Every Feature Except Her Skin” by Latrie Marshall

Finalist: “Brown Skin Jawn” by Tajinnea Wilson

Finalist: “Melanin” by Shamiika Mitchell

Editor’s Pick: “Finding My Place” by Anastasia Hirschi

Editor’s Pick: “My Skin is Not my Sin” by Arigo Dut

Adult Essay Division

1st Place: “Black by Nature” by Stella Mpisi

2nd Place: “What Colorism Did to Me” by Chelsea Brooks

Editor’s Pick: “Yo Daddy’s Side” by Ebonie Adams

Editor’s Pick: “Beauty, Like Water” by Faith Esene

Editor’s Pick: “Black Tea” by Edoka Writes

Guest Judges

I’m honored to announce the wonderful Guest Judges for the 2017 Colorism Healing Writing Contest: Alejandra Torres and Amaris Wilson. Alejandra has been a great colleague of mine at LSU for the past 3 years. Amaris is a talented writer whose poem “Dark Chocolate” is featured in the anthology Colorism Poems. Continue reading to learn more about each of them.

Alejandra Torres

Alejandra Torres is a PhD candidate in English, a Women’s and Gender Studies graduate minor, and the recipient of the Economic Development Assistantship at Louisiana State University. Her research interests include literacy, language learning, and youth studies. Her dissertation seeks to address the educational needs of undocumented adolescent English Language Learners. She has taught college composition and high school English and is currently a coordinator for Humanities Amped, a justice-oriented, critically-engaged literacy program. Contact her at

Amaris Wilson

Born in Natchitoches, LA, Amaris Wilson is a two-time member of the DTHS poetry slam team and a two time member of the Baton Rouge Brave New Voices poetry slam team. She has been published more than five times and has been featured on the popular blog, For Harriet. Amaris’s poetry focuses on blackness, youth, womanhood, and the intersections between them. She is currently attending Louisiana State University, pursuing a B.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing.

2017 Rules & Eligibility

The Colorism Healing Writing Contests are open to anyone.

Submit one original poem or essay up to 1,000 words by 11:59pm Central Standard Time on Friday, June 30, 2017. You will be able to submit via the contest page starting January 1, 2017.

By submitting to the Colorism Healing Writing Contests, you agree to have your poem published online at and in the subsequent print anthology, should your piece be chosen as a winner, finalist, honorable mention, or editor’s pick.


Prizes apply for both divisions (Youth and Adult) of the poetry and essay contests.

  • 1st Place: $100.00 plus publication online and in print
  • Finalist: Publication online and in print
  • Honorable Mention: Publication in print
  • Editor’s Pick: Publication in print

If you’ve missed the deadline, please come back in January to submit a piece for the 2018 contest. Catch up on previous results for 2016 and 2014 contests.